Water safety is a big concern for anyone spending time by open water or pools- or even in the tub, for that matter. But is it possible to completely prevent your child from drowning?
Some safety advocates swear by tactics that promote drown-proofing. The training involves getting toddlers to ‘rescue themselves’ by teaching them to learn to roll onto their backs and float, rest and swim to safety should they fall in a body of water accidentally.
The practice is something that could save a life, if a child should happen to wander into the wrong spot, unsupervised, at the wrong time. When you watch the training video, it does seem absolutely amazing that a toddler could possibly swim to safety.
But some, like safety experts at the Canadian Red Cross, feel that drown-proofing a toddler is unsafe.
Why? There’s the fear that parents and caregivers could rely exclusively on the training, and fail to keep a good eye on their children, putting the children in danger, near water.
It’s true that in some cases, this could happen. Parents could be lulled into a false sense of security knowing their child has had ‘training’ and therefore should be OK unattended for a moment at the water’s edge.
All Eyes on Deck
I’ll say this: any parent who wants to go to long lengths to keep their child as safe as possible around water, is on the right track. Drowning-proof training is no substitute for adult supervision. No one ever said it was.
Yes, children, whether they’ve been trained to swim as babies, toddlers or otherwise, should always be supervised when swimming or around water. They are never water-safe. In fact, anyone of any age should swim with a watcher. Never swim alone they say, and there’s a good reason for that. Solid swimmers drown each year when caught in unexpected circumstances. There should be dry eyes on deck, at all times.
But what about those moments that no one wishes for, no one plans for, but that somehow sometimes happen?
Giving your child an extra edge by teaching them how to roll over in the water, should they ever fall in alone, isn’t a bad thing to do. If you’re so inclined, give them these tools. Always be at their side to ensure they’re safe. Protect them. Don’t rely exclusively on the training, but an extra strategy never hurt.